Cholera cases now 37,289, 1,434 deaths

Date: 28-10-2010 10:36 am (13 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 28-10-2010 10:36 AM (13 years ago)
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CONTRARY to a widely published United Nations (UN) report that put the cholera cases and death tolls in Nigeria at 38,173 and above 1,500 respectively, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has said that the country had 37,289 cholera cases and 1,434 deaths between January I, 2010 and October 25, 2010. Chief Epidemiologist FMOH, Dr. Henry Akpan, told The Guardian: “We base our figures from reports we get from the states and our partners who are working in the states. We do not base our figures on newspaper reports. In epidemiology there are processes. “Well I can confirm to you that since January 1, 2010 and today, October 26, 2010, we have recorded 37,289 cases of cholera and 1,434 deaths. Any other report is wrong. Presently our staff and our partners are on ground in the states addressing the situation.” According to the UN, cholera has killed more than 1,500 people in Nigeria this year, more than four times the death tolls reported by the government in August. The lethal waterborne disease has spread to Nigeria’s West African neighbours Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Benin, where it has thrived because of severe rains and flooding. According to UN figures, 1,555 people have died from cholera in Nigeria since January and 38,173 cases have been reported. The figure is more than four times the death toll the government reported in August. UN officials said the numbers were based on the latest reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Red Cross and government agencies. “The rains this year have been very severe … [The outbreak] is considerably worse this year,” Paula Fedeski, a spokeswoman for United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, told Reuters. The current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 1991, when 7,654 people died, according to WHO statistics. The highest death tolls were in the northern states of Borno, Katsina and Bauchi, comprised mostly of small Muslim villages that have been hit by heavy rains. But there were also cases in southern states, including Rivers and Cross River in the Niger Delta, the heartland of Nigeria’s oil industry. The number of reported cases so far this year is almost three times the number for the whole of 2009, although Fedeski said that was partly because of improved data collection. The Red Cross estimates that women and children account for 80 per cent of this year’s cases. Heavy rains and flooding in rural areas, where safe drinking water and sanitary facilities are scarce, have fuelled the outbreak, which is generally spread through food and water contaminated with bacteria. In many villages, sewage flows down dirt paths during the rainy season, allowing faeces to contaminate communal wells. Almost half the country’s 150 million people lack access to clean water and proper sanitation, even though the government earns billions of dollars a year as one of Africa’s top oil exporters, the WHO says. Chris Cormency, a Senegal-based UNICEF official who is monitoring the epidemic, said poor basic education among rural villagers and a lack of staffed clinics and hospitals allowed the disease quickly to claim lives. “Most people have heard of cholera but have never been touched directly by cholera,” Cormency added. “Next year, it might come up in the same state but in a different region.” Officials hope Nigeria will see fewer cases in the coming weeks as the dry season approaches and local governments attempt to warn people of the danger. The infection is highly contagious yet easily preventable with clean water and sanitation. The Guardian learnt that the situation was made worse because medical care in Nigeria is generally poor. In many places access to toilets is rare and open-air sewers can easily flood.

Posted: at 28-10-2010 10:36 AM (13 years ago) | Gistmaniac

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